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Iraq war photos: SFC Gregory Giger killed himself after 3rd Iraq tour

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Giger was one of at least 22 Fort Hood GIs to commit suicide in 2010. (Photo: COURTESY PHOTO / SA)

With “permanent war” now the norm for American soldiers, the toll on them is showing.  Sergeant First Class Gregory Giger committed suicide after going to Iraq three times.  He had served in the US Army for nearly 25 years.  People can’t keep living like that.

In a MySA (My San Antonio) article by Sig Christenson posted on January 20, 2010, the Army’s suicide statistics are revealed, specifically those occurring at Fort Hood, just up the road from San Antonio.

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Eugene Giger was a “tall quiet Texan” even after his wife filed for divorce while he was in Iraq, his mom says.

Authorities found Giger, 42, of Houston dead in his apartment near Fort Hood, hanging by [a] necktie. He was one of at least 22 GIs from the post to commit suicide in 2010.

The Fort Hood mark is a new record for the post and contributed to the Army’s worst year for suicides. There was, however, a sign of hope in the grim tally. Slightly fewer active-duty soldiers died by their own hand compared with 2009. But there was bad news, too: The number of suicides in the National Guard and Army Reserve rose sharply.

How do you say there is a sign of hope from this, and keep a straight face? 

Cost of the Iraq war

The cost of the Iraq war grows.  SFC Giger committed suicide in 2010, yet we invaded Iraq in 2003, seven years earlier.  We wring our hands over our soldiers killed in combat, but there are many who have taken their own lives.  SFC Giger’s marriage was ruined by his continued deployments, although other factors may have played a role.  His life wasn’t the same.  It wasn’t anything close to normal.  With a husband away all the time, only the most devoted wife is going to stay home at night.  Anything short of that and the marriage will suffer.  Of course, with women serving in the military more and more, the same thing is happening in reverse:  husbands will go looking for company outside the home too.

The Pentagon has launched mental health and suicide-prevention programs and created an Army task force in hopes of turning the tide. In 2008, the Army began a five-year study with the National Institute of Mental Health. That research effort examines risk and resilience factors associated with suicides. A new military research consortium will test and develop interventions.

Please spare me the nonsense of another Pentagon study.  The Army will pay a team of shrinks to study the problems suicide rates, and come up with some report for the Chief of Staff.  But the soldiers will still get deployed to a war without end or purpose (other than Obama’s political agenda), which is the cause of the problem.  But the shrinks will be paid well for their services, and the generals will look good and sound like they’re really looking into the problem. 

Eighteen of last year’s 301 suicides were women, prompting [US Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter] Chiarelli to tell reporters on Wednesday that resiliency among females in some cases “seems to be higher” than for men. That could explain “why we have a lower suicide rate in women based on the number that we have deployed,” he said.

Those gals sure are tough.  I guess that means we need more of them in the ranks.  In other words, General Chiarelli is using the high number of male suicides to make the politically correct plug for women in the military.  But there’s no mention of the percentage of women who commit suicide to their total numbers, but we’re supposed to jump for joy that the women are tougher than the men based on General Chiarelli’s remarks.  How bad are things when the second in command of the US Army is using suicide rates to rally for a PC thing like women in the service.  Next he’ll be making a plug for gays based on their low suicide rates too.  I guess we should just have women and gays because the straight men just can’t hang in there.  General Chiarelli’s comments are as rediculous as they get.  PC to the max.  How else could he get where he is?  Maybe he wants Admiral Mullen’s job?

Chiarelli told reporters that he believes the programs instituted by the Army in recent years have saved lives, but Col. Carl Castro, director of the medicine research program that established the suicide consortium, said no one is sure of their effectiveness.

“We think they’re effective,” he told the Express-News, “but we haven’t done the research to demonstrate that they may in fact be effective.”

You don’t say?  The Army thinks these studies are effective, but hasn’t done anything to prove they’re effective.  So how can it say they’re effective?  Like everything else, the Army is pulling these assessments out of thin air.  As Obama would say, “Just words.”  Soldiers who commit suicide after three years in combat fighting a meaningless war at least deserve better than that.

American soldiers in Iraq

When soldiers are sent back and forth between home and another combat tour, who in their right mind doesn’t think this will affect them mentally?  Was John McCain not at all affected by being held a prisoner of war for five and a half years by the North Vietnamese?  There is no way a human being can withstand stresses like these and come out the other end of the tunnel the same person then when they went in.  In John McCain’s case, he developed “Stockholm Syndrome,” which could be observed by the way he campaigned against Barack Hussein Obama in 2008:  he wanted so much to be liked by his opponent he was practically campaigning for him.

Chiarelli pointed to the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, which offers screening tests for soldiers, family members and Army civilian workers, as one successful effort. He said research comparing soldiers who committed suicide against a control group showed that, “broadly speaking, resilient soldiers do not complete suicide.

Iraq war casualties

That last line is critical for two reasons.  The first is the painfully obvious comment made by General Chiarelli that “resilient soldiers” don’t kill themselves.  One doesn’t need a PhD in psychology to figure out that more stable people, people who have better ways to deal with life’s issues, are less likely to take their own lives.  What else is new?

But the other critical issue from this statement is who made it.  It was made by the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army.  If General Chiarelli is that “sharp,” we’re screwed.  If this is typical of 4-star generals in today’s Army, is there any wonder why our invasion of Iraq was such an abomination?  So intent are guys like Chiarelli to tow the party line, not rock the boat, and walk that wide PC highway, they have no problem making PC hay with higher rates of suicide of their own soldiers, and tuck it all away into an Army pamphlet.  

Iraq war photos

I wonder if General Chiarelli ever looked at the photo of SFC Gregory Giger before he put his foot in his mouth?  I guess SFC Giger just wasn’t that “resilient.”  Too bad that new pamphlet wasn’t printed before he took his own life.  I’m sure that would have solved all his problems.

5 comments to Iraq war photos: SFC Gregory Giger killed himself after 3rd Iraq tour

  • tom

    the soldier suicide ‘count’ will forever be inaccurate – - because the Army chooses to ignore the number of honorably discharged soldiers who, tragically, take their own lives while among the civilian ranks after leaving the Army.

    once a soldier always a soldier. oh, but not if the ‘former soldier-now a civilian’ takes his own life.

    these ‘after Army’ suicides are not VA suicides – - these are Army suicides – - the loss of former soldier who honorably served in IRQ and/or AFG is a soldier suicide. Does GEN C have any clue what that total number might be? if he doesn’t, he could start counting in 2011 and see where it leads his study groups.

  • [...] written in the past about the growing trend of suicides in the US military.  I discussed this in a post dated January 30, 2011.  I’m not a psychiatrist, but it doesn’t take one to know the [...]

  • Toni

    The soldier mentioned, SFC Giger, was my brother, Greg. I know the focus of the article is on how he ended his life, but to us, his family, Greg was and is more than just a statistic; he was a brother, son, father, and a husband. He was also an excellent solider who loved his country and was revered by the soldiers he led. He had no enemies, he was smart and had a great sense of humor. The military can do all the studies they want but until they stop denying the stress and psychological damage that these back to back deployments do to soldiers, other families are going to lose their loved ones as well.

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